K. Venkateshwarlu

Samajwadi Party finally joins in the “we stand united” chorus

HYDERABAD: United National Progressive Alliance convenor N. Chandrababu Naidu’s backdoor diplomacy seemed to have saved the day for his third alternative political formation with the Samajwadi Party (SP) finally joining in the “we stand united” chorus.

Telugu Desam leaders claimed that but for Mr. Naidu’s painstaking efforts in convincing SP to go slow in reaching out to the Congress, the UNPA would have been in disarray on Thursday itself. The SP would have gone ahead and declared support to the Congress, much to the embarrassment of a grouping that was patently anti-Congress.

Compulsions

At the crucial meeting of the UNPA in New Delhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh were questioned by other partners for hastily toeing the Congress line on the nuclear deal, TDP sources said. Mr. Naidu and others told them that they knew and understood the SP’s political compulsions in Uttar Pradesh but the least they expected was the tact Mr. Amar Singh should have displayed in revealing his mind to the media.

After SP’s stand was hotly debated, the meeting reportedly discussed a damage control strategy and ways of buying time to wriggle out. That was how the idea of asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to hold a national debate and seek opinion from an independent nuclear science expert cropped up.

Buying time

This has given the SP and the UNPA sufficient time to study various options, one of which includes allowing the SP to extend outside support to the Congress while remaining part of the third alternative.

TDP sources said it was also a bit of pressure exerted by Left parties that the SP leadership decided to stay with the UNPA for the present. Before the UNPA meeting in the afternoon, Mr. Naidu met CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury and CPI general secretary A. B. Bardhan.

Anticipating trouble, Mr. Naidu had sent senior party leaders K. Yerran Naidu and K. Ramamohan Rao two days ago to prepare the ground for keeping the UNPA intact.